Ordinary decent reporter: Christopher Curtis explains why he launched The Rover

Christopher Curtis at his finest. Submitted photo.

Describing an ordinary decent reporter begins with Christopher Curtis.

That means getting out of the newsroom and talking to people – most likely those who call the streets home, opposed to people in suits.

He may own an audio recorder but knows better than to shove it every face.

Curtis will tuck it away, preferring to sit on a curb to chat. He may also stick around a little longer than normal, because he knows that’s when something special can happen.

It may also mean quitting your job at the English newspaper of record in Montreal, the Gazette, because you think you can do more good on your own.

That’s what Curtis recently did, raising a few eyebrows in the business, when so many journalists are clinging to jobs, not giving them up.

Curtis launched The Rover, a crowd-funded investigative journalism project.

That means he exclusively works for the people.

Maybe he always did, but now they will be paying him, too.

“I think the idea is that I’m moving around a lot … and I happen to be fond of dogs,” he said on Nation to Nation.

Humour is another side of Curtis.

It was on full display during his discussion with host Todd Lamirande.

But the work he is now pursing means travelling to remote Indigenous communities, particularly in Quebec, which he said are underreported.

“What I have kind of done my entire career is try to build relationships and work on those longer stories. It’s not something you can flip in a day a lot of the time,” said Curtis.

“There are a lot of parts of Quebec, and specifically of Indigenous politics within Quebec’s borders, that don’t get covered because they’re just too far and it takes too much time to go there and do that reporting and build those relationships and that’s what I most want to do.”

It’s something he couldn’t do as much at the Gazette, even if he did love his time there.

His work can be found at The Rover with Christopher Curtis and the full interview can be seen below, which includes him jumping into a freezing bay of water to settle a bet.

Nation to Nation also looked in to the rising COVID-19 numbers in Manitoba, particularly around a hydro construction project where area chiefs are demanding answers.

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